You Know How I Know I’m Black?

I write about Blackness.

Check out this piece on “Cultural Purgatory” I penned for PostBourgie:

Sandmann’s isn’t the only establishment that triggers my racial-acceptance-related paranoia. I also keep my head down at the beauty salon because I don’t want the women with the fingerwaves and rhinestoned acrylics judging me by my hair’s length or lack of “adventure” (just relaxer, no dyes, no gels, no ‘fro/locs/braids) and deducing that I think I’m “better” than they. I worry, whenever I go back to the storefront church where I grew up, that the congregation will take one look at me and somehow assume that I live in the gentrified part of downtown. (I don’t, by the way.)

Read the rest here.

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3 thoughts on “You Know How I Know I’m Black?

  1. tankie says:

    interesting post, stacia.

    i’ve been thinking of writing something very similar but about class. perhaps i shall. 😉

    do you ever feel your american-ness contested, or is it only the sub-identification that has this disconnect? or is there no plain old american identification for you? african-american (or black american) or nothing?

  2. slb says:

    tank: i don’t think i’ve ever really considered my americanness. i haven’t felt an overt and direct level of discrimination potent enough to make me feel like a white-american majority really believed blacks didn’t belong in america.

    if i were alive earlier, pre-civil rights act, pre-voting rights, i’m certain i’d feel more like an outsider here.

    i think the near-fifty years since the dissolution of jim crow have been about whites’ grudging acceptance of blacks’ presence in this country. (i’m still not certain “presence” extends to “equality,” but i definitely don’t feel that racism challenges my citizenship.)

    i’d really like to read your piece on class. post it! post it! 🙂

  3. tankie says:

    i think if you identify as american and don’t consider it, it’s probably not contested. i know i’m not american, but having lived there so long, i do think that, as a catch-all identity, it’s much more fluid than the british identity.

    here i would say very much that forms of racism and xenophobia challenges certain groups claims/rights to citizenship. very much so.

    perhaps i shall write the class thing. it’s different, obviously, to what you are saying, but at the same time, your piece resonated. it’s about beingness and belonging and experiencing rejection for not being and belonging quite as one should.

    for starters, i should never have said ‘one should’. 😉

    and i probably shouldn’t have considered the idea in the first place. hahaahaa.

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